The Impact of Culture on Medical Care

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The popular use of the phrase 'Westernized Medicine' is ample evidence that culture plays a significant part in the assessment, delivery, and expectations of medical care. Health care in the United States is modeled on the Euro-centric tradition of science and has its basis in the Christian belief that places a high value on life and strives toward the reduction of human suffering.


The Hispanic culture plays a dominant role in determining the approach to medical care and delivery, as well as the communication of symptoms and prognosis. Good communication skills are the key, as culture, more than any other factor, will determine the best approach to the type, delivery, and communication of a patient's medical needs.
As an American nurse practicing in a US setting, I have accepted the science, ethics, and traditions of American medicine. While I believe that spirituality and religion play an important role in promoting good health, they are separate from the healing process that comes from medicine. The spiritual aspect of healing is similar to the support of family and friends, and its benefit is derived from the psychological support that it provides to us. However, science is the foundation of modern medicine and understanding the science is the critical factor in assessing a patient and administering a treatment program. While I do not dismiss herbal renedies and traditional treatments out of hand, I do require a thorough scientific study to verify that the process will obtain the desired results. A proper diet and exercise are two aspects of natural medicine that have been repeatedly proven to improve our health. ...
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